Sunday, 29 November 2009

Ten years (and two days) ago today

Thanks to CC in comments for bringing this to my attention.

Cast your mind back, if you will, to November 27th 1999. I remember the date well because it was on our minds for months beforehand - mostly because of the General Election but also because it would be my friend Jazman's 21st birthday and she was going to be really pissed at Jenny Shipley, then PM, if she called the election for that date. She'd had to share her natal anniversary with general elections too many times, and having lots of friends and families interested in politics she really didn't want to be overshadowed on her 21st too. I recall vividly shuttling between her 21st in Tamaki and the Alliance party in Grey Lynn; from those who were mostly depressed about the inevitability of the end of nearly a decade of Tory power to those elated at the prospect of being part of the Government for the first time ever, and a centre-left Government at that.

But November the 27th was much more significant for the firsts that it enabled:
No doubt there are others y'all will mention in comments which I've forgotten :-)

In some ways it seems hard now to imagine that these firsts were only a decade ago. Surely we've been ok with women in charge for years and years and years? Unfortunately some people are still not ok about it**, but I would hope that any future contenders for the prime ministerial role who happen to be female would not face all the barriers that Clark, and Shipley, did.

By 2019 what will we hope our Parliament looks like? It still fails the diversity test by many measures, although it is better than pre-MMP days. What firsts would you like to see occur between now and then?

* I don't want to get all hung up on Clark being the first elected female prime minister, and all the stuff that goes on around Shipley being the actual first first. Shipley's role was significant, and I don't deny that. However the reality for the NZ public voting on 27th November 1999 was that they knew the outcome would be a female PM. They hadn't known that was likely when they voted three years earlier.
** Anjum I wanted to put in here a link to the story you told once about the woman who came up to you at a stall somewhere saying it was unnatural to have a female PM, but I can't find it sorry!


Psycho Milt said...

For all that I prefer the diversity of Parliament the last 10 years to the grey-suited stodge-festival that was Parliament when I was a kid, it's trivia.

What counts is what the people with their arses on the seats actually do with their time there. In that sense, having Alamein Kopu or Taito Philip Field in Parliament might have ticked some diversity boxes, but they certainly constituted no improvement over the days of Grey-Suited Whitey.

Julie said...

Milt I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume you don't realist just how offensive it is for you to dismiss these firsts as "trivia" and thus gthe achievents merely trivial.

stargazer said...

and here's the link:

Hugh said...

I think we shouldn't forget all the great things Georgina achieved during her time in Parliament either. Her effect on legislation record is her true legacy.

Julie said...

I tend to agree with whoever it was who said when we can have a crap female US President, just like we've had crap male US Presidents, then we'll know we've got true equality ;-)

Which is not to say Georgina was truly crap, like say George W Bush was crap. But I think it was possibly a bit like Pam Corkery - not very well suited to MPery.

Anonymous said...

I don't care if we have elected pink polka dotted, midgets who's sexual bias leans towards bits of furniture.

What's important to me is that the people who are voted (or sneak in on the list) are providing taxpayers the best possible service for the money and perks that they receive from us for.

This is trivia and irrelevant on how NZ you think has moved on, it's the inevitable result from MMP - no more no less.